It's always a challenge to explain Shrove Tuesday to the kids. I have lots of Christian students this year but very few who celebrate Lent or Ash Wednesday. We read about it but since I am Presbyterian and it tends to be a very Catholic way of doing things, I really don't have much to say about it.
It occurred to me this morning when I was talking to the students that I hadn't given Lent any thought this year. In the past, I have given something up - usually chocolate or caffeine. There have been times when it seemed a good exercise - it helped to focus me on Easter's impending arrival and since Easter really should be the highest point of the Christian year, that has always seemed to be a good idea. I don't know when I started giving something up or even when I learned about it. I seem to remember my father doing it - as mom said tonight, he always gives up coke and chocolate (and always goes right back to them on Easter).
The timing is good because fasting has been on my mind. We are doing a Bible study at church (Untapped Miracles for Tapped Out Christians) and this week, the focus has been on fasting. While food has been the focus of most fasts in the past, I have been considering whether another kind of fast might be more appropriate for me at this point in my life. I am not sure that giving up food is really all that useful an exercise for me. I have been pondering whether there is anything in my life that a) I have become too reliant on and b) that takes my focus away from God. I have actually wondered whether a kind of fast that takes me away from the computer might actually be a good idea (other than that it would keep me away from my blog and my online Bible study group). Just think, if I didn't spend so much time on the computer, I would have much more time to read, to rest and to do all those jobs that need doing and cause me stress when they don't get done. There was a stage in our lives when Michael and I used to try to actively keep the Sabbath - we didn't use any media on Sunday, we avoided computer, t.v., video games and telephone and tried to spend our time together. That might be a nice compromise.
I haven't decided on whether I will give something up or not. If you have any good suggestions, I would love to hear them!